I share Piper's concern over the cavalier attitude some have who claim to be Christians. The older he gets, Piper writes, “the more troubling it is that so many people identify as Christian but give so little evidence of being truly Christian.” (29) He argues of saving faith, “It is experienced in the mind and heart, or we are not saved.” (13) Saving faith includes affections, such as love for Christ and thankfulness. These are the work of the Holy Spirit. These affections are not a result of saving faith but an integral part of it.
The book begins with an explanation of Piper's concern. He follows with an investigation as to whether saving faith is indeed receiving Christ as supreme treasure. He covers the implications of his view to evangelism, discipleship and assurance of faith. He includes a section on his characteristic theme of Christian hedonism, God glorified and people satisfied in Him.
I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, this book is more of an intellectual and theological argument rather than an insightful encouragement to experience saving faith. Piper critiques views of people like Matthew Bates and Robert Sandeman. People the common Christian has never heard about nor cares to read about. He explores the nuances of terms, such as people “...receiving Christ as their supreme treasure but do not treasure him supremely.” (134) I have to admit I was lost or uninterested in much of Piper's text.
This book may be of interest to theologians and seminarians. It is not the kind of book the common Christian would appreciate reading although I think that is the audience really needing a book on this topic. If you are a theologian and appreciate a theological argument that saving faith includes affections, this is the book for you. If you are a lay person looking for encouragement and practical insight into living a life treasuring Christ, you will need to go elsewhere (such as Do You Believe? By Paul David Tripp).
My rating: 3/5 stars.
You can read chapter one here.
John Piper is founder and lead teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for thirty-three years as the pastor for preaching and vision of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than fifty books, including Desiring God; Don’t Waste Your Life; and Providence.
Crossway, 304 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)